CUDDALORE: It is called Market Colony but a more appropriate name would be Fans’ Colony. Almost every man here, aged 35-years and below, is a proud fan of one film star or the other, starting from Rajnikanth to Hip Hop Tamizha Adhi. Many of them are Cuddalore district office-bearers of various fans clubs.
Walking through the narrow dingy lanes of the Market Colony that has about 300 families and is close to the Cuddalore bus stand and Thirupathiripuliyur railway station, one gets the sense of passion for films from the stickers on two-wheelers and T-shirts of the youth. But a peek inside a house, even a hut, gives a better picture. The walls, cupboards and interiors are filled with insignias relating to the actor of endearment. Photographs taken with the actor, film posters and trophies are some of the memorabilia that are showcased with pride. Most of the people are identified by their positions in the particular fan club than by the names.
Though the houses and women cleaning vessels on the streets exemplify collective penury – most of whom eke out a living doing menial jobs - every film actor’s birthday is a celebration at a small clearing amidst the clutter of huts.
“We decorate this place, set up banners, cut cakes and distribute chocolates, besides playing the songs from the actor’s movies in loudspeakers during their birthdays. Never a month passed without a birthday celebration here,” said Prabha, district president of Raghava Lawrence Fans’ Club.
While Prabha recalled the blood donation camp organised at Cuddalore GH on Lawrence’s birthday in October, birthdays of actors are celebrated by district secretaries of the respective fans clubs by distributing pens, pencils or notebooks to children or providing free meals at schools for special children.
Saran, district treasurer of Jayam Ravi Fans Club, said: “We all spend from our pockets to hold these events. These activities give us pride and satisfaction.”
And of course, they go to Chennai to meet their icons. As a political functionary from the area said that it is their only connection with the State capital. Three years ago, town secretary of Dhanush Fans’ Club, Manivannan, an auto driver, went to invite Dhanush for his wife’s baby shower ceremony and again, he invited the actor for his daughter’s first birthday but both attempts went in vain. Then he took the daughter to Chennai, just before her first birthday, to get wishes from Dhanush. As his wife could not accompany him, he had to take care of the child through bottle-feeding. Now, a big framed picture of Manivannan and his daughter with actor Dhanush adorns the un-plastered wall of his small house.
Being functionaries of a fan club is not easy when it comes to new releases. The district presidents receive a bundle containing fan club flags, T-shirts with the actor’s portrait printed on them, posters and a CD of new movie stills a few days before release.
Kuppuraj, district president of Karthi Fans’ Club and Sathish Kumar, district organiser, were seen busy distributing the flags and T-shirts to fans on November 16, the day before the release of his new movie Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru. They designed the banners wishing for the success of the movie and erected them in the theatre’s premises. They had to spend for the dinner of fan members and other friends, who helped them in the chores. Kuppuraj said that he spends not less than `20,000 during the release of every movie of Karthi.